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A 3-D printed polymer with enzymes turns methane to methanol

By Gerald Ondrey |

Scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL; Livermore, Calif.; www.llnl.gov) have combined biology and 3-D printing to create the first reactor that can continuously produce methanol from methane at room temperature and pressure. The team removed enzymes from methanotrophs — bacteria that metabolize methane — and mixed them with polymers that were printed or molded into innovative reactors. Remarkably, the enzymes retain up to 100% activity in the polymer,” according to Sarah Baker, LLNL chemist and project lead. “The printed enzyme-embedded polymer is highly flexible for future development and should be useful in a wide range of applications, especially those involving gas-liquid reactions.” The research, which could lead to more efficient conversion of methane-to-energy production, was described in a recent issue of Nature Communications.
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